Friday, September 25, 2009

A Dog's Tale

Going through the Chronicle-Gazette's archives the other day, I ran across a sort of biography of a dog. It said that he was a sort of Scottish Terrier mix, which would account for the stern eyebrows in the dog's photo.

He'd stood out from his littermates: mostly because his combination of huge paws, clumsiness and enthusiasm sent him careening into walls, off steps, and into water dishes more often than the rest combined.

As he grew, his body continued to lag behind his paws: but he became slightly less clumsy. And, if anything, more energetic.

He lived on a farm, so he had plenty of room to run. Which was fine, until the day when he, chasing some critter nobody else could see, ran into the business end of a combine.

His owner had seen the dog coming, and cut power, but the kinetic canine (I know: but that's how the dog bio put it) still had to be disentangled from the reel. The vet told his owner that it'd be kinder to put the dog down, but a bond had formed between human and klutz. The dog, now minus his right ear and a few teeth, went home a week later.

And kept out of trouble all winter. During spring planting, apparently in an effort to catch a seeder, he ran under the wheels of a truck.

This time the dog came home with three legs, and no hope of siring puppies of his own.

The dog's name? Lucky.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Disturbing Case of the Bored Husband

Loonfoot Falls has no shortage of Nelsons, but I haven't found a couple who quite match the "Mr. and Mrs. Nelson" I read about this week. Maybe they're from out of town.

Here's the email I read:

Since his retirement, Mr. Nelson had accompanied his wife each time she went to Valderrama. She liked having someone to carry packages.

His idea of shopping was to get in, find the listed items, and get out. Hers was to browse until she had what she needed, then visit another department or two.

Mr. Nelson got bored.

Then, Mrs. Nelson got this letter from the Loonfoot Falls Valderrama:

Dear. Mrs. Nelson,

Your husband has, over the last three months, seriously inconvenienced many customers, and interfered with Valderrama cooperators. If he does not stop his antics, we may be forced to bar you from this store.

His actions, which force us to take this step, are as follows. We have surveillance video of each incident.

June 2: In housewares, set alarm clocks to go off at five minute intervals

June 8: Approached an employee, saying "Code 5 in Housewares. Take care of it now"

June 23: Spent twenty minutes at the Service Desk, trying to put a Hershey's candy bar on layaway

July 14: While holding a rifle in the Sporting Goods department, asked the cooperator where antidepressants were stocked

The Loonfoot Falls Valderrama manager doesn't know of any similar incidents: so this email may have been a hoax. Still, it's a good story.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Eight Years Ago Today

Today is the first time since 2001 that September 11 has fallen on a Friday, the day this paper is published. I suppose most people remember where they were and what they were doing that morning.

I'd started my freshman year at Foggton State University, and was between classes in Sivertson Hall. Someone had a radio going. New York City under attack or not, I had classes to go to, so it wasn't until around 4:00 that I could start catching up.

The Loonfoot Falls Chronicle-Gazette doesn't, as a rule, do national or even state news, but the September 14, 2001, issue was an exception. The lead story's headline was simply, "America Attacked."

It shared the front page with an article on the Loonfoot Falls School Board's approval of a referendum for an operating levy, and another about allegations that a feedlot operator approved his own feedlot proposal, misrepresented the plan to his neighbors, and walked away with a quarter-million dollars.

Since then, this area's Minnesota National Guard unit has been deployed in Iraq, and returned; the referendum passed, and the operator was convicted.

This week's paper isn't quite so dramatic. A story about the trial of a man suspected of burglarizing the Mighty Minn Mart last year is the lead. The other two are about a traffic stop that turned into a drug arrest; and the end of Loonfoot Falls Police Department's K-9 program.

Rambler the bloodhound has been patrolling with Daniel Brown since 2003.

But that's another story.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Labor Day Traffic Jam and Picnic: 1973

Afterwards, nobody seemed to know who first thought of repairing the U. S. Highway 73 bridge over the Loonfoot River during that Labor Day weekend, 37 years ago. It must have seemed like a good idea at the time.

That Friday afternoon, August 31, 1973, at 5:30, barriers went up and a crew began work on the bridge. The nearest north-south roads at the time were several miles away.

Work was almost completed Monday afternoon, when vacationers from Minnesota's lake country started pouring down Highway 73, past the detour signs.

No more than a hundred southbound cars were stopped on the highway by the time the Highway Patrol and police from several towns started sorting the mess out.

Frustrated drivers were getting turned around and pointed toward the detour, when a semi came barreling down the road. The cab went off the west side of the road. The back end slewed around. The wheels fell into the east ditch, dropping the fifty-foot trailer across the pavement.

Frank Anderson had been watching the excitement from his Lakeview Diner. Like good neighbors, he and his staff put together a sort of impromptu picnic. Those vacationers got home hours later than they planned: but they did get a free meal out of it.

Mr. Anderson explained to me that he figured it was worth it, in good will. It wasn't his fault that the 1973 oil crisis started about a month later. The Lakeview Diner closed its doors in the fall of 1974.
("Following" list moved here, after Blogger changed formats)

Loonfoot Falls Watchers